The role of annexin A2 in tumorigenesis and cancer progression

Cancer Microenviron. 2011 Aug;4(2):199-208. doi: 10.1007/s12307-011-0064-9. Epub 2011 Mar 5.


Annexin A2 is a calcium-dependent, phospholipid-binding protein found on various cell types. It is up-regulated in various tumor types and plays multiple roles in regulating cellular functions, including angiogenesis, proliferation, apoptosis, cell migration, invasion and adhesion. Annexin A2 binds with plasminogen and tissue plasminogen activator on the cell surface, which leads to the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. Plasmin is a serine protease which plays a key role in the activation of metalloproteinases and degradation of extracellular matrix components essential for metastatic progression. We have recently found that both annexin A2 and plasmin are increased in conditioned media of co cultured ovarian cancer and peritoneal cells. Our studies suggest that annexin A2 is part of a tumor-host signal pathway between ovarian cancer and peritoneal cells which promotes ovarian cancer metastasis. Accumulating evidence suggest that interactions between annexin A2 and its binding proteins play an important role in the tumor microenvironment and act together to enhance cancer metastasis. This article reviews the current knowledge on the biological role of annexin A2 and its binding proteins in solid malignancies including ovarian cancer.